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Our Dogs Magazine Article

by Nick Mays

THE SITUATION regarding anti-dog legsislation in Germany went from bad to worse last week, as each State Parliament seemed hell-bent on outdoing their neighbours by introducing ever harsher penalities for owners of proscribed breeds. Two German states, Hessen and Hamburg even enacted legislation requiring the owners of all Pit Bulls, AmStaffs and Staffordshire Bull terriers to surrender their dogs to the authorities by Friday last week for euthanasia. Hamburg and Hessen. Meanwhile, the German Kennel Club (VDH) souygh legal advice. Their lawyers made clear it clear to the politicians that it is not possible to confiscate and destroy any dog without good reason as this would violate the basic law and constitution of Germany (Article 14 - guarantee of property) as well as valid AnimalProtection law, which does not allow to kill any healthy animal without reason. Added to pressure from the international community, the States to back down. However, they have still insisted that all prodcribed breeds should be nuetered by August 15th. Many dog owners with breeds that are not involved into the actual lergislation are much more careful than usual to avoid negative incidents with dog-haters or with the police, and it is expected that on-lead rules will be controlled much stricter even in areas where off lead dogs were usually tolerated hitherto.

Last weekend, for example, a Whippet owner living in Bielefeld (North Rhine-Westphalia), was stopped by a police patrol and she was asked to muzzle her "fighting dog". In fact, the dog was a Whippet, and finally she could convince the officer that it is not on the list of "dangerous" breeds.

Jan Scotland, a Rhodesian Ridgeback owner from Germany told OUR DOGS: "The most far-reaching decree has been issued by the state of North-Rhine Westphalia (including the Ruhr Area and big cities like Cologne, Muenster and Bielefeld): This state requires for owners of all dogs over 40 cm / 20 kg to microchip their dogs, to get a liability insurance and (for the owner) to get a certificate of conduct from the police. The dogs have to be kept on lead inside of housing areas/city streets. And there is a list of 42 breeds which are classified as "dangerous" (including all "fighting dog" breeds, bullterrier breeds, livestock guardian dogs (even the French Briard!) and also Rottweiler and Dobermann (but not the GSD!). Those dogs can be released from muzzle when they pass a temperament test. Breeding of 13 breeds (mainly the bullterrier breeds and some livestock guardians) is prohibited. BTW, the delicate subject on the North Rhine Westphalia situation is, that also Dortmund, the city where the "Bundessieger-Zuchtschau" and the "VDH-Europasieger-Zuchtschau" take place, as well as the FCI World show in 2003, is situated in this state. If this law will remain in force, this would mean that for example Rottweiler, Dobermann, Briard and many other more or less popular breeds must be muzzled outside the showgrounds, even during the World Show! no trial based on this law has ever been initiated. "In my opinion, the large variety of rules within the 16 states could also be a violation of the freedom of movement within Germany, so this might become an argument for the Federal Government or for the Court of Constitution finally to enforce a national rule on aggressive dogs - actually nobody knows whether this will finally be stricter of more relaxed that the majority of the current state laws."

Meanwhile, German dog owners continue to worry for their dogs' safety and a significant number are considering removing them from Germany. Offers of accomodation for the dogs have been made as far afield as America and Australia.


Catherine Walker is a British mathematics teacher who has been working in Europe for the last ten years. She has lived in Austria for five of them, the last two in a small village near Salzburg. Her husband is German. They have two large dogs, a six year old black Newfoundland called Baggins and a two year old Leonberger called Elphin. Catherine has bred a small family of dog owners herself, as her three sons have, between them, six dogs and one of her sons breeds and trains working Rottweilers. Catherine has been able to observe the anti-dog hysteria sweeping Germany at first hand, and fears for dogs in Austria. She told OUR DOGS:

"What happens in Germany is often repeated in Austria. Since the Anschluß we have shared many laws and the cultures are close." "The German papers, on sale in our shops here, have been emblazoned with scare mongering headlines and photos of gaping pit bull jaws, for over a week now. The local papers are publishing suggestions from politicians about what should happen in Austria - ranging from complete bans on certain breeds to assessment tests for all dogs and licences for dog walkers. "The effect on our 1000 head population is already beginning to show. We are a typical chocolate box tourist village and the tourists are mostly Germans. Our dogs, who last year attracted admiring glances and comments from tourists passing our garden, are now given a wide berth. Last Sunday on a walk, we twice noticed approaching walkers hesitate, until they were sure the dogs were leashed. Both of our dogs exceed the proposed german height / weight limit of 40cm / 20 kg. But their breed standards do not allow them to show any aggression so they are in no way dangerous, just big. "The attacks on dogs and their owners in Germany has made some of us nervous here. My neighbour usually lets her Rottweiler run loose through our fields and meet her on the footpath, now she keeps her dog close, not because the dog is dangerous, but in case some of the people are. The quality of life for dogs in our village won't improve until the tourists leave, mine will certainly not run loose until then. Fortunately I belong to a dog training club with its own grounds nearby, my dogs can play safely there." Catherine has proved a tireless campaigner against the new dog legislation. Sdhe has spoken directly to many senior politicians, with varying degres of response. "I spoke last week to the Personal Secretary of the Federal State of Hessen, Thomas Koch," says Catherine. "He admitted that it hadn't been thought through, when I asked him what was a Mastiff owner with four two week old puppies was supposed to do with the bitch and puppies. He seemed to think if they were temperament tested there wasn't a problem as the owner could keep them. He was totally unaware of any of the practicalities of dog rearing.

His second suggestion was that the owner would have two weeks in which to sell the puppies (after that it is illegal to trade). When I reminded him that nervous aggression in any breed of dog is usually exacerbated by removing the puppy from the litter too soon, he admitted he knew nothing of these matters, they would have to get the advice of vets. He also admitted that most dog bites in Germany were caused by German Shepherds, but he suggested that these sorts of bites don't matter, it is dogs who bite in the face that were of concern."


The various German States have been playing a particularly sick game over the past two weeks, each trying to enact a harsher set of 'dangerous dog' control laws more draconian and restrive than that of neighbouring States.

The legislation for Hessen is one of the harshest and reads as follows:

§ 1 Dogs with increased aggressiveness and dangerous potential

Dogs with increased aggressiveness and dangerous potential (fighting dogs) within the meaning of this decree are the following breeds and groups of dogs as well as crossbreeds amongst or with other dogs:

  • American Pitbull Terrier or Pitbull Terrier
  • American Stafford Terrier or American Staffordshire Terrier
  • Staffordshire Bullterrier
  • American Bulldog
  • Bandog
  • Bullmastiff
  • Bullterrier
  • Dogue de Bordeaux
  • Dogo Argentino
  • Fila Brasileiro
  • Kangal (Karabash)
  • Caucasian Owtscharka
  • Mastiff
  • Mastin Espanol
  • Mastino Napoletano
  • Tosa Inu
§ 2 Prohibition of possession Possession of a fighting dog requires permission. It will only be granted, if a just interest for the possession can be proven, and if a petition for achieving the permission is filed in writing by Aug 15, 2000 with the authorized authorities.

§ 3 Leading and confining of a fighting dog walking a fighting dog outside its confinement area must be done with leash and muzzle. The person walking the dog must be 18 years of age as well as mentally and physically able to do so. Properties and kennels where a fighting dog is held, must be fenced in and secured so that people outside the property and kennel are not in danger. Escaping from the kennel or property must be made impossible. Every door or gate to the property or apartment of the owner must bear a bright red sign at least 15 by 21cm with the clear writing "Warning, dangerous dog". Fighting dogs must be castrated or sterilized.

§ 4 Prohibition to breeding, trading and acquisition Breeding, mixing, trading, acquisition and discharge of fighting dogs is prohibited. It is allowed to discard to and accept by animal shelters as well as people having obtained permission according to § 2.

§ 5 Responsibilities Responsible for enforcing this decree are the local authorities.

§ 6 Failure to obey It is illegal within the meaning of § 77 subparagraph 1 of the Hessian Law for Public Safety and Regulation to intentionally, deliberately or carelessly own a fighting dog (§ 2, sentence 1) without permission after Oct 16, 2000 walk a fighting dog without leash or muzzle holds a fighting dog contrary to § 3, subparagraph 1, sentence 2 contrary to § 3, subparagraph 2, sentence 1 not sufficiently secures property and kennel contrary to § 3, subparagraph 2, sentence 2 not puts up a warning sign contrary to § 3 subparagraph 3 not has his fighting dog castrated or sterilized violates a prohibition according to § 4 sentence 1. (2)Failure to obey according to § 77 subparagraph 1 of the Hessian Law for Public Safety and regulation can be punished with a fine up to 10,000


The List of banned and proscribed breeds is wide ranging but there is one rather pointed omission; The German Shepherd. No-one at OUR DOGS is suggesting that GSDs are any mOre prone to aggression than any other breed. However, in 998, a survey was conducted in Germany to log the most number of dog bites per breed. The List is as follows:

Dog Bite List Germany 1998
58 breeds registered

  1. GSD X's 2379
  2. GSD 1956
  3. Rottweiler 542
  4. "Pitbulls" 320
  5. Doberman 223 Bullterrier 169
  6. Rhodesian Ridgeback 8

Grim stories of aggression and abuse towards dog owners by German citizens continue to flow from Germany. The following verbatim excerpts are all taken from true accounts posted on the Internet List DogHolocaust. All these cases are genuine and may be verified,a lthough some subjects have declined to have their names mentioned publicly for fear of further reprisals.


... On Wednesday I was by myself when I took my two dogs (Mastin de los Pirineos Casta and animal shelter dog Barnaby, AmStaff) on our usual loop. A bit outside of town, we ran into some teenagers who thought they had to act ,courageous' and started to bother and insult me and the "murder beasts". I tried to walk away, but to no avail, they followed me. And there was no other person in sight. Then they tried to kick Barnaby (who was muzzled and on the lead), to which he reacted with confusion, whimpering and trying to get even closer to me. At one time Casta had enough and started growling and snapping, whereupon the gang disappeared, still calling: this attack dog will be killed! He's dangerous. We will report you to the police..."


The breeder of one of my dogs was ambushed by 4 Germans at a highway stop in Austria. When she came back to her car, they called her a child murderer. One of the 4 threatened her with a bat that he was going to kill her dog (she did not have one with her). They pushed her around until she finally managed to flee into the car. The reason for the attack: a Bullterrier sticker on the rear of the car... I do not dare to reveal my name as I fear for the safety of my family. I hope you can nevertheless publish my message."

Klaus and Gabi Meier:

Friends of ours have a Bullterrier bitch, who is nice and has never shown any agression in any way. I was jsut visiting them and as I did not have much time, I left my two Bullterriers in the jeep, which was in the driveway of my friends. His 8-year old daughter walked outside with her female dog Cosma in order to greet my two Bullies in the car. In the same moment the telephone rang inside the house. A neighbor woman threatened to call the police as one of the attack dogs was on the street. The female was in fact not in the street but on private property (drive way). We ran out the house to look - in the meantime the daughter already walked with the Bullterrier female through the garden into the house. Since that day, the neighbor is telling everybody in the town that the dog will be put down because of aggressiveness. Our friend constantly gets phone call from this neighbor in which she expresses her anger about these dogs.

On Sunday we had guests from Munich (incl. 1-year old Bullterrier female and Fox terrier). They parked in our spacious driveway in front of the house. They let the dogs out the car and wanted to come with them into our house. The dogs walked heel. Suddenly the neighbor was screaming from his garden:" I'm going to kill your dog, if you don't put him on the lead immediately." The dogs were on our private property....

Silke Kolb:

...Last Thursday, June 29, the Doberman of a friend of our family was poisened. An elderly woman was insulted: " Old woman, put you dog on the lead, or we'll beat you up."...


"Being the owner of a friendly AmStaff male the last week in Berlin was more than tough. Apart from the numerous insults such as "Filthy killer pig" or "they should take your children away from you slut", we were even threatened. They said someone should stab me and my beast and skin us alive or slowly roast us over fire....Who are the beasts one seriously has to ask oneself in view of such serious threats. By Thursday I was so nervous that my husband already thought he had to call the doctor. The fact that other dog owners are presently already so desparate and afraid that they abandon their animals, is saddening yet understandable...."

Nadine & Addy & Pitchy & Pepper:

When somebody screams: your dogs should be gassed" I know that this is one of those poor stupid people that would have enthusiastically raised their arms under Hitler. Today Hitler's children 2000 are hunting us, tomorrow it will be other ones again. My hope is that until then they have not succeeded in destroying the owners of the discriminated breeds, this would be the most horrible final victory, mankind could ever achieve. When I think I can no longer go on like this, I look into the eyes of my beautiful dogs. See their hopeful and loving glance, then I know that no path can be too steep or too difficult and then I have the strength to ignore every nagging idiot outside. The tears I cry into my dogs' coat those blind people out there cannot see.....

Jörg Dickmanns:

... Now hundreds of thousands of dog owners and their families are being criminalized and discriminated against by the German Federal Government and the state parliaments. In this country, the government of which claims the right to determine which democratically elected parties are to form the government in our neighboring state [referring to the parties elected in Austria, one of which is headed by a right-wing politician], dog owners are being assaulted, spit at and beaten in the open street. Good family fathers are sneaking out the house with their dogs after dusk to escape the mob incited by the politicians. To fill the cup to the brim, the secretary of internal affairs of Schleswig-Holstein encourages the citizens to denounce dog owners at the local authorities. Deeply hurt in my sense of honor and justice, I hereby declare publicly and call upon all dog owners, who feel as I do, to join me in saying that I feel discriminated against and patronized by the German Government...


...Remember well what is being done to you now. The very thing that is going on right now reveals to you the true character of your fellow citizens. Germany is an intolerant country behind the times with hysterical inhabitants, the majority of which is cowardish and always needs a (weeker, defenseless) scapegoat and is prone to practise mob-law...

Sabine Michels:

... An old man addressed me and as I always think that (reasonable) discussions are important, I tied the dogs to a tree, so the man would not feel threatened. I walked over to him and thought I could start a reasonable conversation, when he suddenly started insulting me, ending with the sentence "all dog owners and their dogs should be gassed", upon which I turned around without a word (swallowing everything that was at the tip of my tongue) when he hit me with his walking cane.

Nevertheless, I did not say a word and called the police, whose remark wass "being a dog owner, you have to expect such reactions now." Later I called their superior to put in a complaint when he asked me:" Do you have witnesses?", which unfortunately I did not have. "Then just be quiet or you will lose your dog faster than you can look". Remember, my dogs did not do anything, neither did I provoke the old man, nor insult him or defend myself. The whole time my dogs were lying down tied up 10 meters away from the man and did not even budge, when I was attacked.....

Meanwhile I only take the dogs for a short walk during the day, longer walks I can only do between 12 a.m. and 2 a.m. at night. In our town the newspapers are also running a campaign where they are taking photos (with telezooms) of people and their "attack dogs", which are then put in the newspaper (blacking out only the people's faces) with inflammatory comments and stating the place where those people walk their dogs. Keep in mind, all dogs were on the lead. I could continue with such incidents endlessly of what other people are teling me in their e-mails, about being stoned, about evictions about children who tell their parents: if they kill our dog, I also want to be dead", about the desparate e-mail from a father of three children who has a 10-year old Staffordshire, who has never done anything and his 5-year old daughter who has nightmares....


On July 30, 2000 U was walking in the town center of Ochsenfurt accompanied by my wife and my bullterrier Cliff around lunchtime, when we were badly insulted by strangers. Walking by, an old man spit at my wife's hair. My wife and I tried to hold ourselves back and only verbally defended ourselves to show our lack of understanding for this mad hunt.


It would appear that the German authorities may not be taking the protests against their genocidal legislation as seriously as they might. Catherine Walker sent a polite, restrained e-mail to the Chencellor Gerhard Schroder regarding the situation [copy herewith]:

Dear Chancellor Schröder

As an english dog lover, living in Austria, I am writing to ask you to halt the slaughter of innocent dogs currently taking place in Germany. As any rational person is aware there are no dangerous breeds of dogs, only dangerous dogs.

The current public reaction and the government's response is sickeningly close to that of the earlier holocaust. You have the power to redeem the reputation of the german people as being sensitive and thoughtful, not barbaric and cruel.

Please help family pets and deal with the real issues in a logical manner.

Yours faithfully

Catherine Walker

This is the reply received by Catherine from Chancellor Schröder's office:

From: Parteivorstand
To: "''"
Subject: AW: Kristallnacht for dogs
Date: Thu, 6 Jul 2000 13:51:16 +0200
Return-Receipt-To: Parteivorstand


Mit freundlichen Grüßen (Translation: With Friendly Greetings).

OUR DOGS contacted Herr Schroeder's office. Peter Treichel, an official within the office was apparently unable to comment on the e-mail sent to Mrs Walker. "We cannot trace an e-mail from Mrs Walker," he said, "We would not normally reply to an e-mail in this way." When asked (via e-mail) if he would be taking efforts to track down and punish the culprit, no further comment was received from Mr Treichel or any other official in the Chancellor's office.

AS WE go to press, reports are coming in of large numbers of Bull breed 'type' dogs being destroyed in animal shelters across Germany, apparently on the orders of the States Governments. In the town of Giessen in the state of Hessen, all dogs under "Category 5" in Hessen's dracionian laws were being destroyed at the town's animal shelters. Amongst the dead were AmStaffs and Pit Bulls, but also Mollasers. Local vets had refused to take part in the killing of healthy dogs, so it is understood that a Government vet was carrying out the destruction. Meanwhile in Hamburg's main dog shelter 12 dogs, including Staffordshire Bull terriers were killed and their bodies loaded onto a skip like so much garbage. Photographs of the dead dogs were taken by a shocked dog lover and posted on the Internet.

Thanks to notification via the DogHolocaust List, the sickening images were seen worldwide. There is some evidence that one of the dogs was not killed by lethal injection but was, in fact, strangled to death. A German Notary has organised the removal of the dogs' corpses to Venlo in the Netherlands, where they will be examined at a veterinary laboratory and a post morten report on each compiled. It is understood that legal action is to be taken against the Director of the Dog's Home for allowing the dogs to be destroyed without just cause. If evidence of strangulation is established, further charges will be brought for animal cruelty.

Meanwhile, a worldwide boycott of all German goods is being organised via DogHolocaust, and the support of celebrities in the US, UK and Europe being sought to protest against the anti-dog laws. Pressure groups around the world are joining the concerted campaign to force the German States and National Governments to repeal the laws. Legal challenges against the various States' legislation are also being mounted. DogHolocaust is an open List and may be joined by keying: Subscribe: Copyright (c) Nick Mays/OUR DOGS July 2000 Permission to post to DogHolocaust Website granted.